Reader’s Theater: The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7)

The Christmas Story readers theaterReader’s Theater: The Birth of Jesus
Based on Luke 2:1-7 NRSV
Parts: Narrator 1, Narrator 2, Narrator 3

NARRATOR
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered.

NARRATOR 2
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.

NARRATOR 3
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

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The Christmas passages from Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2 are “tidings of great joy for all people.” A great way to embody this truth is through multiple readers of multiple ages voicing the beloved story. I hope these simple scripts will help you to do just that. Merry Christmas and may the promises of this Holy Season strengthen you throughout the year! – Lisa <><

Click the link for a master pdf of all The Christmas Story scripts
Reader’s Theater The Christmas Story

Adapted from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Reader’s Theater: The Birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7) © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Contact the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Worship Resource: O Little Town of Bethlehem with additional prayers

Christmas Eve service in courtyard of Church of the Nativity, circa 1934-1939. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Eve service in courtyard of Church of the Nativity, circa 1934-1939. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

The following worship resource alternates between verses of O Little Town of Bethlehem (United Methodist Hymnal #230, Public Domain) and additional prayers.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

We welcome you O Christ, Light of the World.
End our fears. Our hope is in you.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to all on earth!

We welcome you O Christ, son of Mary, Son of God.
Bring peace to all on earth.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

We welcome you O Christ, Gift of Heaven.
Enter in. We receive you and pray others will as well.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Conclude with “Amen” or The Lord’s Prayer

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This worship resource may be voiced in several different ways.
Here are a couple of ideas:

  • all persons sing and pray
  • all sing and one prays
  • one sings and all pray

Another option is to speak the hymn text rather than sing it:

  • all speak the hymn and one prays
  • one speaks the hymn and all pray

If you choose to speak the hymn and prayers, it would be especially beautiful with an instrumental version of the hymn playing in the background.  

Feel free to extend the prayer time between the verses for additional intercessions offered silently or aloud.

Whatever you decide, I pray this idea sparks a meaningful and rich time of worship for you this holy season. – Lisa <><

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O Little Town of Bethlehem prayers and compilation © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art and the use of this post in other settings,
please refer to the copyright information page.

Christmas 14: Herod's Genocide

The Story of Christmas
Day 14 Reading: Matthew 2:16-18

The word “innocent” from its Latin root means “not wounded.” That’s how we all start life. We’re all innocent. It doesn’t have anything to do with moral right or wrong. It has to do with not being wounded yet. We start unwounded. We start innocent, but the killing of our holy innocence by power and abuse (as in the killing of the Holy Innocents by Herod [Matthew 2:1-23]) is an archetypal image of what eventually happens to all of us.
– Richard Rohr

There was another night in Bethlehem. No angel chorus was heard that evening. No Gloria in excelsis. The air that night was rent with shrieks–shrieks and cries; sobs and tears. A hellish horde had done the bidding–the bidding of a paranoid devil. These thugs search –not for life– but to deal out death. And newborn babes lie bundled in grave cloths–laid to rest–cradled in fresh-turned earth. None to save them; so that the streets of Bethlehem echo– Miserere, miserere!
James T. Dennison, Jr. in Kerux: The Online Journal of Biblical Theology

End the Madness
by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Hear our cry! Hear our cry!
Death is at the door
Evil is taking the day

Fear makes us crazy
Relief supplies rotting on the docks
Vaccines waiting on shelves
Abortions of convenience
Suicide bombers
Enslavement
Genocide
Warfare

End the madness
Deliver us from bloodshed
Teach us to value every life

Come quickly. Come in power.
Rescue your beloved.
Lord, where else shall we go?

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Click Here for another reflection on this scripture by Steve Garnaas Holmes entitled The Slaughter of the Innocents. Click Here for his reflection entitled Herod.

For information on The Story of Christmas Reading Plan, click here

End the Madness © 2010 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art and the use of this post in other settings,
please refer to the copyright information page.